Thursday, March 15, 2012

Drive and Dish 2012 NCAA Tournament Bracket

Drive and Dish was launched one week before the start of the 2007 NCAA Tournament. In 2008, we began publishing our handwritten NCAA Tournament brackets. The night before our first brackets appeared, Mark Buckets and yours truly spent the wee hours deliberating over our picks in a then-24 hour Kinko's in the western suburbs of Chicago. Mr. Buckets abruptly retired from sports blogging during Duke's upset loss to West Virginia in the second round of that year's Tournament. He came out of retirement to pen a post or two later in the week, but left blogging for good after the 2008 Final Four.

Drive and Dish Senior Editor Trashtalk Superstar took sole responsibility for handwriting and publishing the annual Drive and Dish NCAA Tournament bracket in 2009. Like a monk who spent years copying the Bible by hand during the Dark Ages, Mr. Trashtalk devoted himself to handwriting and publishing the Drive and Dish brackets for the remaining years.

The 2010 Drive and Dish NCAA bracket was particularly noteworthy. Drive and Dish eschewed the conventional wisdom (we were among the few who didn't pick Kansas that year) and correctly predicted that Duke would earn head coach Mike Krzyzewski his fourth NCAA Championship. To be sure, we never envisioned that the Blue Devils would meet unheralded Butler in the Championship game, but we deserved some credit for what was (at the time) a bold pick. Believe it or not, virtually nobody picked Duke to win it all that year.

Our 2010 Duke pick was reminiscent of when we picked Florida to win its second consecutive NCAA Championship in 2007, even though the defending champs' lackluster regular season performance had caused most of the "experts" to be Gator skeptics (we didn't publish our brackets that year, so readers will have to work their way through bullet points to find the Florida Championship prediction).

Drive and Dish picked Duke to win it all again in 2011, even though the Blue Devils lost a few key starters from the 2010 Championship team to graduation. We ended up being wrong: Duke fell short and Connecticut came out of nowhere to win head coach Jim Calhoun his third NCAA Championship.

This year, we ended up with North Carolina beating Duke in an NCAA Championship game for the ages. To be clear, we don't actually think the game will be that good. North Carolina should waltz to the Championship . But if our prediction comes to pass, the game will be deemed a "game for the ages" simply due to the novelty of having the two biggest conference rivals in college basketball face each other for the third time this season while playing for the championship.

Of course, our 2012 bracket should come with the following disclaimer: yours truly hasn't had a TV for two years. So like last year's brackets, the Drive and Dish 2012 brackets have been completed despite the fact that Drive and Dish writers' exposure to college basketball in the 2011-2012 season has been limited to internet viewing of select games and to catching a few minutes of games here and there while out and about (come to think of it, maybe that's why we didn't see Connecticut coming last year).

Our 2012 bracket:

Normally, we list several things to watch for below our brackets. But this year, since we haven't seen many games, there really isn't much that we can say with much authority. But we have seen St. Bonaventure play and we think they could surprise people. Of course, they play Florida State in the first round, and the Seminoles have beaten Duke and North Carolina. A few more things:

* Everybody seems to have Kentucky winning it all, but we're skeptical (as we always are of John Calipari's teams). Kentucky has the talent, but do they have the mental toughness and experience that teams with upperclassmen typically have? Toughness and experience are two essential ingredients that National Championship teams must have.

* We picked Virginia Commonwealth to beat Wichita State (primarily because we're so sick of witnessing Illinois fans salivate over VCU coach Shaka Smart that we figure his team will go on a tear that forces us to put up with two weeks more of Illini fans' slobbering), but Wichita State is good enough to make it to the Sweet Sixteen, and maybe beyond.

We've seen Wichita St. a couple times this year and have been pretty impressed. Gregg Marshall is an outstanding coach. He turned tiny Winthrop into a perennial NCAA Tournament participant before bolting for Wichita, and he's got the Shockers' on the national map. Marshall will be pursued by several BCS conference schools that have coaching openings.

* We picked New Mexico State to surprise Indiana. Indiana should win the game, but NMSU is the type of off-the-radar team that can give the big boys all kinds of trouble in the first round Tournament games.

* Nobody has impressed us in 2012 more than Notre Dame. Most of the games we managed to watch online were Fighting Irish games. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the young Irish, but when senior Tim Abromaitis was lost for the season after tearing his ACL, it looked like the season could turn out to be a disaster. But Mike Brey's team knocked off ranked Big East team after ranked Big East team and wound up back in the Big Dance ™.LinkBrey won national coach of the year in 2011. He probably deserves it even more this year.

That said, we have Xavier beating Notre Dame in the first round. We think Xavier's toughness could give the Irish trouble.

* Ohio University is a dark horse team that a lot of people like to make some noise. Head coach John Groce is a rising star in the game. If the Bobcats make a run in the Tournament, he'll have plenty of opportunities to go to bigger name schools (although he probably won't find a nicer campus than the one where he works now -- Ohio University's campus is gorgeous).

We don't think Ohio will beat Michigan though. The Wolverines aren't very big, but they're tough and they can score. We do, however, expect Ohio to give Michigan a run for their lives. But in the end, coach John Beilein's Wolverines should pull it out and advance to play another day.


Wrigleyville Illini said...

Holy effen s**t, holy *effen* S**T!!!!

Wrigleyville Illini said...


Wrigleyville Illini said...

I've been sittin here at teh Cubyb Bearr gettin sh** faced all nite cuz I'm celebrating the VCU win!!!!! Shaka was wearin an orange tie!!!!! That's a message that he's ours!!!! He can't come out and say it cuz he's still got games to coach at VCU, but this thing is a done deal. Shaka is ours!!!!!!!!!! I'm so jacked up that I've been runnin game on every single chick in this place!!!! I got such a chubby on for Shaka that I gotta get some action toninght, otherwise I'm gonna have blue balls. So I'm prolly gonna go home with one of the bigger girls over in the corner, cuz all the hotties have basically shot me down. I don't care though. This thing is on tonite, no matter what. I used to go home from the bars and spank it to Sasha Gray pr0n vids, but lately I've been spankin it to youtube vids of VCU's havoc full court press. Tonight I'm goin for the real thing no matter what......even if I have to settle for a fat chik. I don't care. My man crush for Shaka Smart is so hard core that I gotta bang something tonight, and I'm so drunk and slopy that the fattys are the only ones who'll still let me chat em up. The hotties just didn't seem to be interested in talking about SHaak a. I don't know why. Kinda thought my whole "I'm Shaka's number 1 fanboy" approach would open doors. I mean, who does'nt love Shaka. Oh well, gotta go spit game at one of these fattys sitting at the corner table drinking chocolate martini's. This thing's on, baaby!!!!!! Boom Shaka Shaka.

i can't get enuff said...

Parlay Larry is gay!

Wrigleyville Illini said...

OMG!!!! OMG!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!! Steve Lavin just said he has the inside scoop that SHAKA WILL BE THE NEXT COACH AT ILLINOIS!!!!!!! I was sittin here at John Barleycorn drowning my sorrows b/c VCU lost to the Loosiers. But then thought I heard Lavin say that, but it's loud in here, so I wasn't sure. So I went to the message boards and everybody at EVERY Illini board is saying that Lavin said what I thought he said. So then I started hyperventilating, and I lost control of my body and I pissed my pants!!!!!! So now I'm sitting here with wet jeans and wet shoes and a puddle of piss beneath my feet. But I'm so hyped up I don't even care. STEVE LAVIN SAID SHAKA IS OUR NEXT COACH!!!!!!!!!! Holy effen crap!!!!!!!!! Holy effen craaaaappppp!!!!!!!! I'm still hyperventilating. Now I can't breathe. I think I'm gunna pass out. Oh shit, I'm getting light headed. Now the tunnel vision is hitting me. Shit... I'm about to loose it. If I pass out, I'm prolly gunna land face first in the puddle of piss that I left under the bar stool. Gotta try to stay conscious. Gotta calm down. Gonna put my head between my knees to get some oxygen to my brain. Oh crap, I hope ppl don't think I'm trying to go down on myself or something. That's gunna throw my game off if the hotties see me and think I'm some kind of creepy pervert who tries to give himself oral pleasure in the middle of a crowded bar. But since I'm so jacked up about Shaka coming here next year, I don't really care. If peopel start laughing at me, I'll just go to my mental happy place.....where Shaka locks up all the 5 star recruits from the Chicago ghetto and he's got us back in the Final Four every year, just like it was b4 Bruce Weber ruined this program. And now that I'm in that happy place, I'm thinking about Shaka, and I'm starting to get a big old chubby. And I've got my head between my knees, so it's starting to hit me in the throat. If I sit back up, it really will look like I was trying to go down on myself. So I gotta stay down here for a while until the lump in my pants goes down. But if I keep thinking about Shaka, it won't go down. Oh no, I'm hyperventilating so much I can't breathe at all. Gonna pass out. Gonna be face down in my own piss. Gotta calm down and think happy thoughts. Gotta keep thinking about Shaka. Shaka. Shaka. Boom Shaka Shaka. Boom shaka shaka. Boom shaksa sha.......

Wrigleyville Illini said...

shaka. shaka. shaka. ashka. shaka. shaska. shaka. shak.a. shoulndnt've had so much to drink fo4 st. padys day. to much green beeeeer. vcu lost 2 teh loosers so i was bummed cuz i <3 shaka. boom shakalaka. boom. hooke dup with anohter fatty from teh bars. hottys keep shooting me down when i start talkin about shaka. only teh fattys wanna here me talk abuot shaaka. shaka. ahshak.a boom sha,k.a its cool tho. fattys are good slump busters. just hope my friends dont find out and give me crap bout it later on. shaaka. shaka. shaka. just gotta say shakas name again. fat chick is asleep in th tthe other room. i kno thet im prolly gonna regret it in the moringng. don't care now tho. prolly gunna go back and hit it again cuz i'm gettin excited thinkin bout shaka again. might pass out b4 i get the chance tho. feelin little bit sick. might have to puke. already past out in the bar earlier on. was so embarrased cuz i pissed myself and past out. got carried out by bouncers. wasnt even that drunk. pissed myself and past out b/c i was so excited about shaka. had to leave barlycorn and bounce to other bars. tried to chat up all the hotties in the bars, but got shot down every time. kept bringing up shaka in my opening lines. didn't work at all. cant figure out why. finally had to settle 4 a group of fattys to chat up and dance with all nite. ended up getting one to get in the cab with me. got her home and did what i had to do. to much green beer and tequila. had the beer goggles workin tonite . oh well. ya gotta do what ya gotta do. kinda gross really, but it is what it is. if the fattys are the only ones who don't mind when i keep takling bout shaka all nite, then im cool with that. don't judge. just hope none of my buddies finds out. boom shjaka shaka. boom shakalaka.

Wrigleyville Illini said...

The last couple of days have been crazy for me. Its kinda hard to remember last night cuz I got so sh*t faced, but I was torn between rooting for my boy Shaka to lay teh smack down on teh IU Loosiers and between holding my nose and rooting for VCU to loose so that we don't have to wait another week to hire Shaka away from there. I didn't know what to do, especially cuz I hate INdiana so much and I love Shaka so much. But in the end, I couldn't go against my mancrush. So I rooted for Shaka. Then after they lost, I got so stoked when Steve Lavin said he's got the inside scoop that Shaka's our next coach that I hyperventilated and past out at John Barleycorn. Me and my boys ended up bouncing to some other bars, and I was so excited about Shaka being our coach that I partied a little bit to hard and ended up doing some things I regret. Now I've got the worst hang over ever but I'm too jacked up about Shaka coming here for it to matter. Every time I feel like I gotta puke up some more of last nites St. Paddys day green beer I think about how Shaka's havoc full court press wrecks havoc on other teams, and then I think about how all the alcohol is wrecking havoc on my digestive system, and at the end of the day I feel a little bit more connected to Shaka. But that's not all. Since I've been puking all day today, I decided to make toast. You know how it goes, gotta eat somethin, but when your puking, ya gotta keep it simple, otherwise, well you know. So I made some toast with white wonder bread. And I started thinking, you know how people say "so and so is the greatest thing since sliced bread"??? Well, I was thinking about it, and all of the sudden it hit me.........Shaka really IS the greatest thing since sliced bread!!! And just as I had that incite, the toast popped up, and I noticed that one of the pieces of toast looked just like Shaka's face. You know how crazy hillbillys are always seeing pictures of jesus on there toast.......well, I picked up a piece of toast thet has Shaka's face on it. And if you look hard enough at the crust, there are a couple of burn marks on the edges that makes it look kinda like it says havoc. So obviously, I couldn't eat the toast. I knew that I had to save it so I could build a shrine to it in my apartment. I mean, this stuff doesn't just happen out of nowhere. This is a big freakin' deal. I'm not religious, but this is obviously a sign. I mean, I grew up going to church, but after college I was pretty atheistic or agnostic, just like everybody else in the civilized world. But that changed today. When I saw that piece of toast, it all became totally obvious to me today>>>>>> God has a plan for Shaka, for the Illini and for me. He wants Shaka to lead us to the promised land (Final 4's, championships, etc.) and he wants me to build a shrine to Shaka so that Illini fans can worship him. It all made so much sense. But then something terrible happened. Some fat chik came out my bedroom and ate the Shaka toast!!!!!!!! Now I don't know what to do next. I'm stuck here waiting for God to send me another sign.

Lincoln Railsplitter Illini said...

Hay wrigelyvile illini, do you have that Shaka shrine bilt yet?? im thinkin bout buildin one of my own. id take the afternoon to drive up there and worship Shaka at your shrine, but you live up there in that s**thole chicago, and i aint goin up there for nuthin. i wanna worship Shaka, but not bad enuff to go up there with all them idiots and communists up there in s**tcago. think ill build my own shrine here in lincoln.

Sparco Spartan said...

wont the real wrigleyville illini please shut up, please shut up

Wrigleyville Illini said...

Sparco Spartan.....know who needs to shut up??? Your guy Tom freakkin Izzo needs to shut up!!!!! I use to like Izzo, but he can go eat a bag of dicks after he ripped our AD for cutting Clown Shoes Bruce Weber's legs out from under him. I'm glad he said what he did. So effen what if it undermined Weber. Know what undermined Weber even more then what our AD said.....Weber's suckass coaching!!!! Clown shoes spent 9 years runnin this program into the ground. We use to be elite. Not anymore thanks to Brucie Looserface. Weber neeeded to go!!! Its a good thing that we finally have a AD who could see what a freakken joke Weber was and wasn't afraid to cut his legs out from him. Our AD Mike Thomas has some cohonies!!!! I loved it that he went on the radio and pulled the rug out from under Weber's looser ass. Most AD's just say politically correct B.S. But our guy goes on Chicago radio stations and basically tells fans not to worry cuz our looser coach is about to get sent to the unemployment line at the end of the season, no matter how many games he wins. I love it!!!! I don't care if that's why we lost 12 out of the next 14 after that. That's leadership. Mike Thomas has some brass ones. If Bruce had won more of those games, it woulda been harder to get rid of him. So MT just cut his legs out in the middle of the season!!! He was like....'Dude, go ahead and win enuff games to get into teh NCAA tournament. I dont care. Your ass is outta here no matter what!!!! That's just awesomeness, bro!!!! I just wish thet I could of had the chance to drop a right hook on Brucie b4 he snuck out of Chambana. So Izzo needs to keep his mouth shut and mind his own buziness. If he wants to blow smoke up his buddy Brucie's ass, he can go get a room.

Sparco Spartan said...

u just proved my point wrigleyville boys town illini. im not a msu fan either. word

Wrigleyville Illini said...


Shaka turned us down. I feel like my guts just got torn out. I can't believe this happened. Steve Lavin said he had the inside scoop thet Shaka was our next coach. Seth Davis said this is a top 10 job. I mean, I can't believe this. I just don't think have the will to carry on anymore.

Hopefully theirs something we can do to get Shaka to reconsider and change his mind. I mean, how does he get away from us??? Were an elite, top 10 basketball program. We offered $3 million and he still said no!!! Hopefully some of our rich alums like Hugh Heffner can scrape up a boatload of cash, like maybe a billion dollars, so we can call Shaka back and make him an offer he can't refuse. I mean, I'd do anything to get Shaka here. I'd give my left nut if that would make him come here. Hell, I'd even cut off my right nut too if that would make the difference. Sure, being castrated would suck, but it would still be worth it to get Shaka. I'd just change my screen name to Illini Eunuch.

Come back Shaka!!!!!! Come back Shaka!!!!!!! Baby come back!!!!!!

If Shaka doesn't change his mind, I'm going to jump off the top of Trump tower. I just can't take it.

Wrigleyville Illini said...

Aw screw it. I'm just gonna run out in front of a bus on Clark St. I'm gonna put on my Dee Brown #11 jersey and my Illini zoobas so ppl will know who I was and what I was all about, and I'm just gonna end it baby!!!!! Thanx for everything. See ya on the other side. Hopefully God's an Illini fan.

lincoln railsplitter illini said...

yea, i like teh billion dollars from Heff idea. dont know if shaka'd take it now tho. seems like that ship sailed. but yea, i melted down when shaka turned us down the other day but im over him now. now i want buzz williams from markette. round up a few bales of cash and getter done. hope everythings okay wrigelyville illini. hope ya didnt really run out in front of that bus. it'd be a dern shame.

Lincoln Railsplitter Illini said...

I'm on the Stevens bandwagon all the way now. Go out and throw wheelbarrows of c notes at him. Jus go and getter done. I didn't wanna be a slow down indiana farm boy team like Butler, but now I don't care, jus so long as we put a consistent winner out their. I'm all for brad stevens if that means were a elite big time program. Haven't herd nuthin from wrigelyville illini in a few days. Hope your ok wrigelyville.

lincoln railsplitter illini said...

That does it! Now I'm officeally po'd. How does ohio state loose to us in january and then go to the final 4????? Either they had a bad nite when they played us or we were the better tean and we just crapped the bed the end of the year becuz Bruce weber ruined this team. We have more tallent then oSu so I think I no witch one I'm goin with. If we didn't have a village idiot for coach we wooda prolly been their instead. And we still don't goy are nre coach. Hire brad stevens and. Watch us get their next yere.

Skokie Illini said...

So Lincoln Railsplitter Illini said,

"And we still don't goy are nre coach."

It's hard to decipher what that sentence is supposed to mean, but I'm with you if you're suggesting that you're tired of Illinois hiring goyische coaches. I want Seth Greenberg or Josh Pastner. Larry Shyatt is available too, as always. I've never given a dollar to Illinois because I considered Chief Illiniwek blatantly racist (and because I'm still pissed that I had to go to the last fallback school on my list....G-d did I hate having to go to a school surrounded by all the mouth-breathing rednecks in downstate Illinois!). But I'd send money if we hired a tribesman as coach.

Lincoln Railsplitter Illini said...

I can't beleive Stevens turned us down. NOoooooooo!!!!!! Now were screwed. everybodys laughing at us. IU fans and iowa fans are making fun of us. mizzou fans are makeing fun of us. im sick to my stomach. we need to fire our AD. he whiffed on shaka and stevens. i say we promote jerrance to head coach rite now and just be done with the whole gulldern thing.

Wrigleyville Illini said...

Haven't been keeping up with the news. Just got back from the hospital this morning. Got hit by a bus last week. Broke my neck and almost every bone in my body. Had to have surgery. Was in a medically induced comma for a few days. Didn't here anything about the coaching serch until my buddy came by the hospital yesterday and told me were hiring Brad Stevens from Butler. Heard we gave him $2.8 mil for 8 years. Buddy told me its a 'done deal'. Prolly have an anouncement later on today. I'm guessing the presser will be tomorrow. I'm totally jacked!!! Stevens is a home run hire!!!!! Bravo Mike Thomas. Your a awesome AD!!!!! Sorry about the bad typing. Only have a few fingers that arent broken. Arms both in casts. Thats ok though. I'm to stoked about Brad Stevens to feel pain. Plus im on Vicodin. Cant wait for the Brad Stevens announcement.

Wrigleyville Illini said...

Holy sh**!!! I jsut read lincoln railsplitter illini's comment that Stevens turned us down. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm numb. Were the laughingstock of college basketball. I dont have the will to stay alive anymore.

I think I'm gonna wheel my wheelchair out infront of another bus. Only this time Im not gonna jumble it up.

Sorry. See everybody on the other side. Hopefully, God's an Illini fan. If he is, maybe he'll understand.

Lincoln Railsplitter Illini said...

If we hire John Groce, I'm officielly done with Illini basketball. My first reaction was John who???? We got our expectations up so high after we fired Bruce Weber and this is just such a let down I dont think Ive ever felt this emberessed and rejected. We swung for the fences with Shaka and Stevens and all we end up with is John who? might as well just promote Jerrance to head coach. If the Groce thing is true, Im done with the Illini fer good.

Lincoln Railsplitter Illini said...

This coach fiasco's a black eye against are athletic department, are school and are hole gulldern state. We struk out on Shaka and we were the laffing stock of the hole country, then we struck out on Stevens and we became a even bigger laffing stock, then alluvus went ape sh** when we herd we were gunna hire some heehaw scrub from ohio nobody ever herd of named John Groce. Now we sckedule a press conference to hire Groce, and then we have to cancel it cuz some African Americans on teh bored of trustees dont wanna hire a white coach and wont sign off on teh Groce hire. Then we here that are AD Mike Thomas still wants to hire Groce, but teh black trustees say we gotta hire craig robinson cuz hes black and he's Barack Obamas brother in law. Now we here Groce's even havin 2nd thoughts and he might not come here anyways. The sad thing is, even as big of a illini fan as i am, i cant say i blame him.

So who is next??? Who even wants this job anymore??? Jerrance??? I wouldnt be surprised if Jerrance even turns us down now. We were allready the laffing stock of college basketball, but now were a even bigger laffing stock, if thats even possible. Indiana fans and Iowa fans are making so much fun of us I dont know if Ive ever felt so emberessed and depressed. Even northwestern fans and siu edwardsville fans are making fun of us. Theese are dark days.

Thank god baseball starts in a week. Dont no what id do if i didn't have the Cardinals.

Wrigleyville Illini said...

This is getting rediculus. How do we get the Board of Trustees fired? Would it work if we tried to start an occupy the board of trustees movement?? We just need a coach. I threw up in my mouth when I heard we were looking at Groce. Never herd of the guy. I mean, I just couldn't get over how far we've fallen if we gotta go out and beg 2nd and 3rd tier mid major coaches to come here. It's humiliating. We're the but of the jokes. The tOSU fans and the Walmart Wolverines around me here in the Lakeview/Wrigleyville bars will never let us here the end of it.

But now that the Trustees are blocking Grose, I'm starting to come around to liking the guy. Even if it's only because I kind of feel sorry for him. At the end of the day, I kind of want Grose now, but I'm getting nervous about it. If I'm Groce, I start to have second thoughts about walking into this s**t storm. As much as it hurts me to say it, I wouldn't blame the guy if he walked away from this thing. His whole team comes back, so he could be the hot up and coming coach next year if he turns us down and stays at Ohio.

What a total clusterfark. Oh well, at least I got this Dragon software, so I can write things online without having to type. I got casts on both my arms down to the hands. Getting hit by a bus sucks. But getting hit by two buses in one week takes the cake. Maybe I could get a Guiness world's record for that, or something. Hell, I'd settle just for a Guiness right about now.

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